If you’ve lived in the Southern United States for a while, you’ve probably seen something like this.
For some folks, there’s really no limit to what can be put in the back of a pickup truck, whose carrying capacity may seem infinite.
For some folks, there’s no limit on the stress humans can put on Earth. For some people Earth’s carrying capacity—the size of the population and their waste that Earth can sustain—may seem infinite.
How many people? Science doesn’t have a solid answer. There are too many unknowns. Estimates seldom exceed nine billion. (Since “billion” has different definitions in different countries, that’s 9,000,000,000.) The population today is more than seven billion and the United Nations estimates it will reach nine billion in 2037.
I don’t expect to be around in 2037… I would be 93 years old. But I expect my niece, grand-niece, and nephew, first-cousins-once-removed and their children to be part of that nine billion. And I fear for them, for while Earth might be able to support nine billion people, it will almost certainly not be in the manner we live, today.
Population pressures plus global climate change have already led to war. There is a direct link between climate-change-driven drought, migration into already crowded cities, and the war in Syria and the so-called Arab Spring. There is a direct link between climate-change-driven drought in Africa and the deaths of hundreds of children attempting to flee Libya and other countries across the Mediterranean. There is a direct link from climate-change-driven drought and over-population to famines in Africa that will kill millions. More people, more drought, and more war, famine, disease, and death. Those are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse dreamed of by John of Patmos. They’re also real forces created by human beings.
What can we do? We can tell ourselves that the problem is too big, and simply wring our hands in despair. Or, we can make a small difference. If enough of us make enough small differences, perhaps we can keep the scales from tipping toward disaster.
First, please recycle. No matter what you’ve heard, recycling does save energy most of the time and it reduces the volume of trash in landfills all the time. (Trash such as paper, put in landfills, decays without oxygen… an unnatural process that produces methane, a greenhouse gas.)
“Scorched-earth” means destroying everything that might be useful to an adversary. The history of war contains many examples, from William Tecumseh Sherman’s March to the Sea during the American Civil War to the Russian Army’s strategy during Napoleon’s failed invasion of Russia.
Destroying the food and water supply of the civilian population is specifically prohibited by the Geneva Convention. Although the US has never ratified the protocols of this 1977 document, the US did sign the document indicating a willingness to work toward ratification.
Have Trump and Trump’s Chumps created a scorched-earth campaign against the environment? It appears that they have.
Trump, through executive orders, and the Congress, through resolutions and Congressional Review of regulations, seem bent on destroying not only the climate, but also the air and water of the United States of America.
Both the House and Senate have approved a resolution that eliminates the Stream Protection Rule. That rule was designed to prevent coal-mining debris from being dumped into nearby streams. It required coal companies to set aside money to restore the environment after they had extracted coal.
The Stream Protection Rule was critical to protecting fragile ecosystems and to limiting the amount of toxic heavy metals in water supplies.
Coal is the dirtiest of fossil fuels. Trump’s campaign for clean coal is a lie. There is no such thing as clean coal. Yet this action was a victory for the coal companies. It was a huge loss for the American People and a huge loss for the environment.
The House has voted to overturn a rule that was designed to restrict burning off (“flaring”) methane gas (CH4) during drilling operations on public lands. The Senate is scheduled to do so next week.
When this rule is killed, drillers will be allowed to burn off methane from oil drilling and production.
Methane combines with oxygen in the air (O2) creating carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapor (H2O), both of which are greenhouse gasses.
Flaring also wastes millions of dollars of methane (which is the main component of natural gas) that could be used for fuel.
Using present technology, at least 40% of the methane which is currently flared, could be captured and used. Natural gas is the cleanest of all fossil fuels.
The death of the Methane Gas Emission Rule was a victory for the petroleum industry and the Koch Brothers. It was a huge loss for the American people and a huge loss for the environment.
What will the Congressional Sheep do next? Overturn the truck fuel-economy rule?
When will Trump and his camorra target the Bill of Rights?
[Actually, they already have. More on that in future blogs.]
Geneva Convention: Google the term, start with Wikipedia, follow links there and then check http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/586 and its links.
Resolutions and Actions Taken to Destroy the Environment:
Destruction of Citizen-Owned Natural Resources:
CO2 Produced by Burning Fossil Fuels
Registered Curmudgeon, scientist, skeptic, humanist, and writer.